Congress Targets Google and Facebook Over Ad Monopoly

Tech monoliths Google and Facebook are closer to being held accountable with bipartisan legislation in Congress that aims to reign in their ad monopoly.

The Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act, introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), would “restore and protect fair competition” in the digital advertising industry that is largely dominated by these two massive monopolies.

“This lack of competition in digital advertising means that monopoly rents are being imposed upon every website that is ad-supported and every company — small, medium or large — that relies on internet advertising to grow its business,” Lee said. “It is essentially a tax on thousands of American businesses, and thus a tax on millions of American consumers.”

The legislation would ban entities like Google from owning more than one portion of the digital advertising “ecosystem.” This would prevent them from owning supply-side and demand-side platforms that have allowed them to corner the market.

Other sponsors for Lee’s bill include Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). The identical companion legislation introduced in the House is supported by Reps. Ken Buck (R-CO), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), David Cicilline (D-RI) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

“The online advertising market is monopolized, opaque and rigged in favor of just two companies: Google and Facebook,” said Cicilline.

Big League Politics has reported on the hostile business practices of tech monopolies, which have worsened drastically in recent years:

An ongoing class-action lawsuit over a Cambridge Analytica scandal has forced Facebook to admit the obvious publicly: it is an entity hostile toward their users’ basic rights.

“There is no invasion of privacy at all, because there is no privacy,” Facebook attorney Orin Snyder admitted in court last week, according to a Law360 blog.

Snyder also made a curious claim that Facebook is a “digital town square” where users voluntarily surrender their private information to the tech giant.

“You have to closely guard something to have a reasonable expectation of privacy,” Snyder said.

U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria challenged Facebook’s argument and its Orwellian implications.

“What you are saying now sounds contrary to the message that Facebook itself disseminates about privacy,” Chhabria said, according to a blog.

On the same day, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wast telling his shareholders that his social media entity is planning to become a “privacy-focused social platform,” in a remarkable display of double-speak. He had made a similar pronouncement in a Facebook note from March.

“I believe we should be working towards a world where people can speak privately and live freely knowing that their information will only be seen by who they want to see it and won’t all stick around forever,” Zuckerberg wrote.

“If we can help move the world in this direction, I will be proud of the difference we’ve made,” he added.

Zuckerberg must be hoping that the public isn’t paying attention to what his lawyers are saying in court.

This legislation will likely be sabotaged due to Big Tech’s army of lobbyists and their immense influence over the federal swamp. Still, it is a step in the right direction.

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